Industry News

Apple Announces Plans to Branch into TV, Social Media for Music

For the last several years, Apple has been a trailblazer when it comes to computers and music players, but the company has recently announced several plans to expand the breadth of their products and services. Earlier this week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled a slew of new software, programs and devices that will be yet another step in the company’s efforts to dabble in all forms of media.

One of the headline innovations is Ping, a social network for music fans that has been integrated into the latest version of iTunes. Much like Twitter, Ping users will be able to follow friends to find out which artists and songs they’re listening to. The new social network will also allow users to receive breaking news from their favorite bands and receive the most up-to-date concert listings. In the same vein as the Genius feature, which was introduced a couple of years ago, Ping will work to help users discover new music that is catered to their tastes.

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Google and Verizon Reveal Details of ‘Open Internet’ Deal

Now that details of the potential deal between Google and Verizon have been made public, it doesn’t appear to be the diabolical plan that many made it out to be. But it still has great significance for the ongoing debate on net neutrality. On Monday morning, Google laid out the details of the proposal in a post on their Public Policy Blog.

According to Google, the purpose of the proposal is “to protect the future openness of the internet and encourage the rapid deployment of broadband.” Since both of the companies are monoliths in their respective industries, their proposal for an “open internet” is sure to spark some serious debate. Although the proposal is extensive and complex, you can understand the gist by looking at the companies’ two stated goals:

  • Users should choose what content, applications, or devices they use, since openness has been central to the explosive innovation that has made the Internet a transformative medium.
  • America must continue to encourage both investment and innovation to support the underlying broadband infrastructure; it is imperative for our global competitiveness.

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Are Google and Verizon Teaming Up to Take Down Net Neutrality?

One of the most amazing aspects of the internet is that, by and large, all traffic and content is treated equally. This concept is known as net neutrality, and it governs intent usage in the US. Frankly, it’s somewhat baffling that the US government and large corporations haven’t been successful in garnering more power over what takes place on the internet, but courts have been reluctant to rule in favor of regulation. But according to a report today in The New York Times, Google and Verizon have a deal in the pipeline that could change net neutrality as we know it.

The Times reports that Google and Verizon are finalizing a deal to institute a tiered service model, which would allow Verizon to stream content from some companies more quickly—for a price of course. This would allow large sites, those that need lightening-fast speed like Facebook, YouTube, to receive priority treatment. If the deal takes place, it has the potential to lead to higher service costs for internet users.

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Managing Your Company’s Reputation on Google Place Pages

It’s an inescapable fact of modern business that the public’s impression of your company will be shaped in large part by what they find about you on the search engines, particularly if you are a small business. A couple of negative reviews or a few people venting on a Ripoff Report can deter customers from your business for months or even years to come. Up until recently, many of the channels for voicing your opinion were catered to the consumer, but Google is looking to even the playing field for those on the business side of things.

This problem has been an acute concern for locally based businesses in particular—such as restaurants and service companies—that pop up in a section of Google Maps known as Place Pages. Essentially, this works as an online directory, complete with directions, reviews and details about the company. Traditionally, customers have been able to post reviews and comments at will, but there has never been a formal avenue for a response from the company. Google recently announced that businesses will be able to respond to these comments, offering an opportunity to manage their public image.

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Founder of Blip.tv Shares Business Strategies for Entrepreneurial Success

Just five years ago, Dina Kaplan co-founded a video sharing platform for independent web shows called Blip.tv. And during these five, short years she watched as her business blossomed from a small niche of professional video bloggers to an online hotspot where thousands of users now host their own TV shows and upload self-produced videos.

Needless to say, Kaplan has learned a tremendous amount about what it takes to make a business flourish. In fact, her website has scaled to 96 million video views per month and payouts to content producers have increased a whopping 77 percent just from quarter one to quarter two of this year.

Below, thanks to Mashable.com, Kaplan has put together five essential business tactics to live by as an entrepreneur.

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How Will Your Business Use Social Media in the Future?

With the fluidity of social media, it’s difficult for anyone to effectively predict where the future lies. What is for certain, however, is that social media is incredibly popular and will be around for some time to come. According to a new Nielsen statistics, internet users now spend about one-quarter of their time on the web visiting social networking sites, more than double the nearest competitor (online games).

Part of the reason for this trend, at least in my opinion, is the immense breadth of social networks. Not only are there networking giants like Facebook and Twitter, we also have a litany of smaller, niche sites offering a specific service. These types of sites allow people to personalize many aspects of their online experience, eliminating the need for many traditional channels, such as e-mail, search and general entertainment sites.

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Personal Data from Millions of Facebook Accounts Published in Torrent

Up until recently, concerns over Facebook’s privacy settings and policies have been largely hypothetical, but that all changed today when Ron Bowes, an internet security consultant, uploaded a torrent to the web with personal information on 100 million users. Facebook has come under severe scrutiny in recent months for holes in their privacy settings and policies, and this recent divulgence of data exemplifies the amount of personal information that many Facebook accounts make readily available.

It should be noted that Bowes simply used information that was already open to the public by only including searchable Facebook profiles. So the information in his list could be acquired through a simple search engine query. The purpose of releasing the information was to raise people’s awareness of how much personal information they make available online, Bowes said.

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Afghan War Reports Leaked Through Wiki Site

When Daniel Ellsberg was trying to bring the information in the Pentagon Papers to light, it was difficult to find a viable means of disseminating the information to policymakers and the public. In order to garner media attention for the detailed, confidential war records, Ellsberg eventually had to turn the Papers over to the New York Times, who published the contents of the records in a series of articles. In an eerie case of history repeating itself, The New York Times, The Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel were recently given access to a significant cache of classified reports known as the Afghan War Diary.

But unlike Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, the source that brought the reports to public attention wasn’t a high ranking US official, it was a website. WikiLeaks, a website dedicated to publishing leaks while maintaining the anonymity of its sources, gave the three aforementioned publications access to the Afghan War Diary weeks in advance under the condition that they wouldn’t report on the information until July 25, the day WikiLeaks published the diary to their site.

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Facebook Celebrates 500 Million User Milestone

Earlier today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced via a blog post that the social media site has officially reached the 500 million user plateau. If you follow social media news scene with any regularity, this comes as no surprise. But the significance of this achievement shouldn’t be overlooked, especially since this may still just be the beginning for Facebook.

Facebook launched in early 2004, and it took the company nearly four years to reach 100 million users. From that point, Facebook’s growth has been exponential, with the latest 100 million new users added since February. And due to new mobile technology that allows people to access the site easier and more quickly, some are predicting that one billion users by the end of 2011 isn’t out of the question.

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Do Search Engines Need Government Regulation?

Google has spent years developing and honing their search engine algorithm to bring people the most relevant information on the web. And these efforts have been well rewarded. The name Google is now synonymous with internet-based searches, with the transitive verb “to google” now officially part of the Oxford English Dictionary. Most of us probably think of search engines as pragmatic tools which we use on a daily basis, but the fact of the matter is that search engines are a lucrative business, and Google is dominating the market with almost two-thirds of all internet searches.

In the past week—beginning with an editorial in the New York Times—there has been much debate as to whether or not the government should provide some sort of regulation over search engines. The article in the Times points out that when Google started they were a purely informational resource, providing an objective view of the web’s most relevant sites. Over the years, however, Google’s enterprises have expanded vastly, with maps, shopping, paid advertisements, email and litanies of other auxiliary projects. While business expansion is obviously a good thing, Google now has an incentive to promote their services above their competitors—which is a definite conflict of interest when, ostensibly, you’re managing an objective site.

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